Inside Pol­i­tics

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - Com­piled by Jen­nifer Harper

Judg­ing a judge

Sen. Sam Brown­back, Kansas Repub­li­can, is con­sid­er­ing whether to stop block­ing a ju­di­cial nom­i­nee over con­cerns her ap­pear­ance at a les­bian com­mit­ment cer­e­mony be­trayed her le­gal views on same-sex “mar­riage.”

Mr. Brown­back, in an ap­pear­ance Nov. 26 on ABC’s “This Week,” said Michi­gan Court of Ap­peals Judge Janet T. Neff should not be dis­qual­i­fied au­to­mat­i­cally for hav­ing at­tended the cer­e­mony. But Mr. Brown­back said it raised doubts in his mind, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

“But what I want to know is, what does it do to her look at the law? What does she con­sider the law on same-sex ‘mar­riage,’ on civil unions, and I’d want to con­sider that,” Mr. Brown­back said.

Pres­i­dent Bush nom­i­nated Judge Neff, who has a lib­eral rep­u­ta­tion, to be a U.S. Dis­trict Court judge as part of a com­pro­mise struck with Democrats.

Judge Neff’s nom­i­na­tion is pend­ing be­fore the full Se­nate. Mr. Brown­back has stalled it be­cause of her at­ten­dance at the 2002 cer­e­mony in Mas­sachusetts.

“I’m still look­ing at the Neff sit­u­a­tion, and I will in the fu­ture,” Mr. Brown­back said.

Judge Neff has said she at­tended as a friend of one of the two women, a long­time neigh­bor.

She chose not to an­swer Mr. Brown­back’s queries on whether the Con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees a right to same-sex “mar­riage” or civil unions, say­ing it would be im­proper to ad­dress ques­tions that might come be­fore her as a fed­eral judge.

Last word

Beaten and un­pop­u­lar, out­go­ing Alaska Gov. Frank H. Murkowski re­cently mailed more than 100,000 book­lets to vot­ers, telling Alaskans what a good job he did in of­fice, the Anchorage Daily News re­ports.

The elec­tion for gov­er­nor is long over, and the can­di­date who whipped Mr. Murkowski in the Repub­li­can pri­mary — Sarah Palin — takes over this week. If it seems a lit­tle late for dam­age con­trol, the gov­er­nor’s of­fice says the 48-page book­let is about set­ting the record straight and not let­ting Mr. Murkowski’s many crit­ics write his his­tory.

The book­let is called “A Record of Achieve­ment” and fea­tures a photo of Mr. Murkowski on the cover. It cost the state about $20,000 to print and an­other roughly $20,500 to mail, said Murkowski spokesman John Manly.

The state sent it to about 105,000 house­holds. Other copies went to the state archives, mu­se­ums, li­braries and schools where fu­ture his­to­ri­ans and re­searchers can find them and not have to rely on con­tem­po­rary me­dia ac­counts of the Murkowski years, the Daily News said.

“We’ve got a good story, and we’re proud to tell it,” said Ch­eryl Frasca, Mr. Murkowski’s bud­get chief.

Van­ity first

“Univer­sity of Michi­gan Pres­i­dent Mary Sue Cole­man is of­fer­ing stu­dents an in­ter­est­ing les­son: Never let the law pre­vail over your own van­ity,” the New York Post says in an edi­to­rial.

“Just one day af­ter Michi­gan vot­ers over­whelm­ingly passed Pro­posal 2 — aka the Michi­gan Civil Rights Ini­tia­tive — thereby end­ing racial and gen­der pref­er­ences in the state’s pub­lic sec­tor, Cole­man said she’ll do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to avoid in­cor­po­rat­ing racial equal­ity into her school’s ad­mis­sions poli­cies,” the news­pa­per said.

“ ‘We be­lieve we have the right, in­deed the obli­ga­tion, to com­plete this process us­ing our ex­ist­ing [racially dis­crim­i­na­tory] poli­cies,’ Cole­man said, adding, ‘It would be un­fair and wrong for us to re­view stu­dents’ ap­pli­ca­tions us­ing two sets of cri­te­ria.’

“Bizarre: ‘Two sets of cri­te­ria’ is what racial pref­er­ences are all about. [. . .]

“In the months pre­ced­ing Elec­tion Day, Michi­gan Democrats, Repub­li­cans and more than 200 spe­cial-in­ter­est groups joined hands in op­pos­ing Prop 2, out­spend­ing pro­po­nents 3-to-1.

“In the fi­nal week, the re­form’s sup­port­ers ran out of cash al­to­gether, leav­ing them un­able to re­spond as op­po­nents likened the mea­sure to 9/11 and Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina.

“Still, vot­ers passed Prop 2 by a wide mar­gin — 58 per­cent for, 42 per­cent against.

“The les­son? Racial pan­der­ing is a po­lit­i­cal loser — even in blue states like Michi­gan.”

Nar­row vic­tory

Repub­li­can Rep. Deb­o­rah Pryce, Ohio Repub­li­can, won re-elec­tion Nov. 27 by a mar­gin so slim that a re­count will be re­quired.

Un­of­fi­cial re­sults an­nounced by Franklin County, the last to fin­ish count­ing ab­sen­tee and pro­vi­sional bal­lots in cen­tral Ohio’s 15th Dis­trict, showed Mrs. Pryce led Demo­crat­ic­cha­l­lengerMaryJoKil­roy, aFranklinCoun­ty­commis­sioner,by 1,055 votes.

Mrs. Pryce lost Franklin County, the dis­trict’s most pop­u­lous, but she re­tained her lead thanks to votes she picked up in two other coun­ties that an­nounced re­sults two weeks ago, Madi­son and Union, the As­so­ci­ated Press (AP) re­ports.

The race was one of a hand­ful that had re­mained un­re­solved across the coun­try since Elec­tion Day, when Democrats took con­trol of Congress.

Mrs. Pryce ended up with 50.2 per­cent of the vote, com­pared with 49.8 per­cent for Mrs. Kil­roy in the un­of­fi­cial to­tals. An au­to­matic re­count is trig­gered if the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two can­di­dates is less than one-half of one per­cent.

Apol­ogy sought

The na­tional com­man­der of the Amer­i­can Le­gion called on Rep. Charles B. Ran­gel, New York Demo­crat, to apol­o­gize for sug­gest­ing that Amer­i­can troops would not choose to fight in Iraq if they had other em­ploy­ment op­tions.

“Our mil­i­tary is the most skilled, best-trained, all-vol­un­teer force on the planet,” Na­tional Com­man­der Paul A. Morin said Nov. 27. “Like that re­cently es­poused by Sen. John Kerry, Con­gress­man Ran­gel’s view of our troops couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth and is pos­si­bly skewed by his po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion to the war in Iraq.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Ran­gel, “If a young fel­low has an op­tion of hav­ing a de­cent ca­reer, or join­ing the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq. If there’s any­one who be­lieves th­ese young­sters want to fight, as the Pen­tagon and some gen­er­als have said, you can just for­get about it. No bright young in­di­vid­ual wants to fight just be­cause of a bonus and just be­cause of some ed­u­ca­tional ben­e­fits.”

Mr. Ran­gel was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion dur­ing an in­ter­view on “Fox News Sun­day.”

Jer­sey bar­rier

Con­ser­va­tive groups in New Jer­sey are push­ing a pro­posal that would grant the rights of mar­riage — but not the ti­tle — to ho­mo­sex­u­als, sib­lings and oth­ers in­volved in do­mes­tic part­ner­ships, the AP re­ports.

The plan comes in re­ac­tion to a state Supreme Court rul­ing last month that said same-sex cou­ples in­NewJerseyshould­havethe­same rights and ben­e­fits as mar­ried cou­ples. Whether to call those rights “mar­riages,” civil unions or some­thing else was left up to law­mak­ers.

Un­der the con­ser­va­tives’ plan, rights would be avail­able to two­somes who are not el­i­gi­ble to marry, said Len Deo, pres­i­dent of the New Jer­sey Fam­ily Pol­icy Coun­cil. Be­sides ho­mo­sex­u­als, such cou­ples would in­clude blood rel­a­tives, or sim­ply two un­mar­ried friends of the same sex. Un­re­lated op­po­site-sex cou­ples, who can legally marry, would not be el­i­gi­ble for the des­ig­na­tion.

‘Civil war’ fight

NBC News on Nov. 27 be­gan call­ing the Iraq con­flict a “civil war,” adopt­ing a phrase that Pres­i­dent Bush and many other news or­ga­ni­za­tions have avoided, the AP re­ports.

Matt Lauer said on the “To­day” show that “af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, NBC News has de­cided that a change in ter­mi­nol­ogy is war­ranted, that the sit­u­a­tion in Iraq with armed mil­i­ta­rized fac­tions fight­ing for their own po­lit­i­cal agen­das can now be char­ac­ter­ized as civil war.”

The Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion said Nov. 27 that it does not think Iraq is in a civil war, and that Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Nouri al-Ma­liki does not, ei­ther.

“You have not yet had a sit­u­a­tion also where you have two clearly de­fined and op­pos­ing groups vy­ing not only for power, but for ter­ri­tory,” White House press sec­re­tary Tony Snow said. “What you do have is sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence that seems to be less aimed at gain­ing full con­trol over an area than ex­press­ing dif­fer­ences, and also try­ing to desta­bi­lize a democ­racy.”

A Dal­las busi­ness­man has launched a Web site with a sin­gle, sim­ple ob­jec­tive: pre­vent Sen. Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton from be­com­ing pres­i­dent. aims “to shed light on the REAL Hil­lary Clin­ton and the dan­ger she and her ideas pose for Amer­ica,” pro­claims the site cre­ated by Dick Collins, a Texas news­pa­per pub­lisher and Repub­li­can ac­tivist.

The site fea­tures links to news ar­ti­cles and com­men­tary about the for­mer first lady, as well as a hu­mor­ous an­i­mated se­ries, “The Hil­lary Show.”

The first in­stall­ment of the car­toon se­ries shows Mrs. Clin­ton spar­ring with po­ten­tial 2008 ri­val Sen. John Kerry, Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat. Mr. Collins says he hopes to con­tinue the se­ries with new episodes re­flect­ing the latest news sur­round­ing Mrs. Clin­ton’s much-an­tic­i­pated White House bid.

The car­toon was cre­ated by a group of artists who are “a bunch of lib­er­tar­i­ans, not re­ally po­lit­i­cal, but they all dis­like Hil­lary Clin­ton,” Mr. Collins said.

“The Repub­li­can Party over the last cou­ple of decades has had the prob­lem of ap­pear­ing to be a party of anger, and we wanted our ef­fort to be [. . .] one that would de­liver a smile,” Mr. Collins tells Robert Stacy McCain of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

Mr. Collins says the site is “a grass-roots ef­fort to de­fine Hil­lary Clin­ton. She’s try­ing to be some­thing that she’s not. She’s at­tempt­ing to be­come a cen­trist Demo­crat, and in fact she’s an ul­tra­l­ib­eral Demo­crat.”

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

An au­to­matic re­count may be called in Ohio since Repub­li­can Rep. Deb­o­rah Pryce won re-elec­tion by less than one-half of one per­cent of the vote.

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